26 August 2002: Chief of Baltimore Police Edward T. Norris debates Bill Brown of the Surveillance Camera Players on MSNBC's Nachman Show. Norris is in favor of publically installed cameras; Brown is opposed.
10 December 2003: Norris, after being indicted on federal charges of "misapplying" (stealing) $20,000 in police charity funds, has resigned his position as Maryland's State Police Superintendent. If convicted, Norris could face 45 years in jail.
8 March 2004: today Norris pled guilty to the charges against him. On 21 June 2004, he is expected to be sentenced to six to 12 months in prison. According to The Baltimore Sun:
In a 14-page statement of facts detailing the case, federal prosecutors said that evidence presented at a trial would have shown that Norris had taken steps to disguise his personal spending as being for legitimate department business and was wary of detection [...] When Norris worried that surveillance cameras at the Hyatt Hotel in downtown Baltimore could have captured him going into a hotel room with an unidentified woman in December 2001, Norris' then-chief of staff John Stendrini and another department employee went to the hotel to look for video cameras, the court papers show.
21 June 2004: Norris gets 6 months in prison in corruption case.
Former Baltimore Police Commissioner Edward T. Norris was sentenced to six months in jail, followed by six months of home detention, 500 hours of community service and was fined $10,000 today for tapping into an off-the-books police expense account to pay for extramarital encounters with several women and to satisfy an apparent taste for the good life. Norris, 43, pleaded guilty in March to federal corruption and tax charges in connection with his use of the fund and for lying on tax returns. He had faced up to a year in prison.
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Bennett also sentenced John Stendrini, Norris' former chief of staff at the Baltimore Police Department, to six months of home detention, 300 hours of community service and ordered him to pay a $10,000 fine as well. Bennett scolded the men for tarnishing the public trust as the nation tries to protect itself from terrorism. He said they were like "two soldiers who go AWOL during a crucial time." Bennett was sharply critical of the men for using the money for junkets, when they were supposed to be at a meeting of police chiefs in Toronto -- six weeks after the Sept. 11 terrorism attacks in 2001. Bennett also ordered each to pay an additional $12,000 in restitution to the city of Baltimore.
The judge said he was recommending a minimum security prison for Norris, possibly Eglin Air Force Base near Pensacola, Fla. Bennett also said Norris is to surrender to U.S. Marshals on July 21.
"I think he's disappointed and resigned," Norris' attorney David Irwin said. "He said he was sorry. He's obviously sorry that he made serious mistakes, and now he's paying a very high price for that." Norris, who later served as Maryland State Police Superintendent, admitted spending as much as $30,000 from three off-the-books police accounts between May 2000 and August 2002 while serving as head of city police. In court today, Norris cried and dabbed his eyes with a tissue as his wife, Kathryn, told the judge what a good man and what a good police officer Norris was. Kathryn Norris said her husband was the kind of man who can't look the other way when something is wrong. "He was a real cop, not a politician," said Mrs. Norris, who had to pause to compose herself to finish her statement. The family has been living in Tampa after selling their Maryland home. Norris has been staying at home with their young son while Mrs. Norris has been working to support the family.
The former police chief told the judge that he has apologized for his actions many times and will continue to apologize for the rest of his life. "I fully accept responsibility for what happened," he said. His use of the fund, originally created as a Depression-era charity, included shopping trips to Coach and Nordstrom stores, outings with friends at pricey hotel bars, and steak dinners at Smith & Wollensky in New York and Flemings in the Inner Harbor.
In a statement today, Maryland U.S. Attorney Thomas M. DiBiagio said: "We deserve public officials who are both effective and honest. This prosecution sends a message that the only way to get from here to there is a policy of zero tolerance backed up by an unyielding commitment and intractable belief that the rules apply to everyone."
In a 14-page statement of facts detailing the case, federal prosecutors said that evidence presented at a trial would have shown that Norris had taken steps to disguise his personal spending as being for legitimate department business and was wary of detection.
After a member of the department's legal office raised concerns about the spending pattern with internal affairs, Norris complained that the employee had "gone outside the family," according to court records. When Norris worried that surveillance cameras at the Hyatt Hotel in downtown Baltimore could have captured him going into a hotel room with an unidentified woman in December 2001, Norris' then-chief of staff John Stendrini and another department employee went to the hotel to look for video cameras, the court papers show [...]
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